Hove beach hut owners will now be consulted before contract changes

Hove Beach Huts
Hove Beach Huts

Beach hut owners applauded as councillors agreed unanimously that they will be included in future discussions about licences.

Back in June the beach hut owners fought off Brighton and Hove City Council’s plans to increase the transfer fee, when huts are sold, which had been agreed in January.

Members of the new Hove Beach Huts Association outside the town hall

Members of the new Hove Beach Huts Association outside the town hall

Now the council will carry out a consultation over the next few months with the owners of the 459 huts as it wants to modernise the existing owner’s licence.

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It wants to find a way to increase the transfer fee in the future and add clauses to prevent sub-letting.

The council also hopes to improve communication with beach hut owners – a goal potentially made easier with the formation of the Hove Beach Hut Owners’ Association last Friday (September 21).

Cllr Robert Nemeth, who represents Wish ward, which has several beach huts, championed their cause.

At the council’s tourism, development and culture committee meeting on Thursday (September 27), Cllr Nemeth said: “I hope it will evolve into a group that operates like the allotment federation.

“It will therefore help the council.”

Licences are similar to ground rent and paid annually.

In the current agreement, hut owners are required to pay their rent and keep the huts in a good state of repair and well decorated.

They are not permitted to sell huts to people from outside Brighton and Hove, sleep in them or trade from them or play amplified music.

Cllr Nemeth said: “I think that much greater clarity is required on what constitutes a transfer.

“Would the transfer from a deceased mother to a son trigger a transfer fee or the removal of one half of a couple during divorce? I would suggest not.”

He also described the one-month eviction rule as extremely unfair and wants it reviewed.

The current licence says that it may be terminated by the council by at least one month’s notice in writing.

Owners must clear the site at their own expense if evicted or the council will clear it and charge them.

The councillors unanimously agreed to not increase fees and to bring the consultation results back to a future committee.

Sarah Booker-Lewis is the Local Democracy Reporter for Brighton & Hove.

For more of her stories, click here.